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In Defense of Sentimentality$
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Robert C. Solomon

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195145502

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2004

DOI: 10.1093/019514550X.001.0001

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On Grief and Gratitude

On Grief and Gratitude

(p.75) Four On Grief and Gratitude
In Defense of Sentimentality

Robert C. Solomon

Oxford University Press

Is grief a “negative” emotion? Is it an emotion at all? We often tend to conflate what causes an emotion (in this case, a serious loss) with the value of the emotion itself. I argue that grief plays an unappreciated positive role in our experience. I also suggest that we too often tend to think of emotions as distinctive feelings and not as processes, but grief is a clear case of an emotional process (that includes several other emotions). I similarly suggest that gratitude is an unappreciated emotion in ethics. But, on a cosmic level, there is some question who the grateful person (especially a grateful humanist) is grateful to.

Keywords:   grief, gratitude, death, dying, love, sadness, sorrow, depression, Janet McCracken, dedicatory quality of grief, mourning, process, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, denial, neglect of gratitude, basic emotions, grateful to God

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